Bayern’s manager says he does not fear the champions but Franz Beckenbauer senses the Spaniards have a mental edge
Sid Lowe in Madrid
At the end of the final session at Bayern Munich’s Säbener Strasse training ground their players took penalties but Jupp Heynckes said it had nothing to do with the prospect of a shootout at the Bernabéu on Tuesday night.
Instead, their manager claimed, the explanation was simpler than that: the practice match had finished in a draw. Heynckes said there was no way to recreate the pressure and tension of penalties and dismissed Franz Beckenbauer’s suggestion that Bayern have a “complex” when it comes to Real Madrid but he did appeal for his side to seek “inner peace” as they arrived in Spain looking to reach the Champions League final on 26 May.
Bayern were defeated 2-1 in Munich but Heynckes believes the first leg showed Madrid could be “hurt” and welcomed the prospect of the semi‑final being decided from 12 yards. Although he said there would be small changes, he insisted that above all his side needed to be more “efficient” than in the first leg, during which they racked up 18 shots but finished with a sixth successive defeat against their European rivals – a run that includes two in last season’s quarter-finals. Bayern lost 2-1 at home then as well but levelled the aggregate score in Madrid, taking the tie into extra time before being defeated 4-2.
“Everyone saw we were defeated by two offside goals,” Thomas Müller said but the club’s honorary president had suggested there might be a different explanation. “There will never be a time when it’s so easy to beat them; they weren’t brilliant,” Beckenbauer claimed three days ago. “I fear we have a complex with Madrid.”
The other major problem they have is injuries: Jérôme Boateng, Arturo Vidal, Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman and Manuel Neuer are absent.
“Recent losses play no part, because I wasn’t the coach then and tomorrow is a different team from last year,” Heynckes said. “For all of us here, what other people say is irrelevant – even if it is our president. This season we have shown we can be successful in close games and tomorrow will be very difficult for us but I think it will be for Real Madrid, too.
“I have a lot of players with experience, internationals who have had success, and we come here to take our chance. We face a team that has been champion two years in a row, three times in four years, and are used to big games, but we never surrender and we want to be in the final. Faith moves mountains. If you want to win the Champions League, you have to have talent, good players, luck in the draw and in certain moments the right referee.
“And we have to be more effective. Madrid had two, maybe three [chances] and scored twice. We have to play the way we’re used to playing. We’ve scored 88 goals in the league. The goals we let in there were terrible errors – it’s not that we were poorly organised or too open. We have always scored goals and tomorrow we have to. We have to minimise errors.
“We have to have balance between attack and defence. Even if it sounds comic, we have to find an inner peace, that balance we had in 2013. I think we have a better squad now but in these big games we need leaders, people who step forward. That’s the art of great players.”
It was put to Müller that he had never scored against Madrid and that Robert Lewandowski’s failure to score in the first leg had cost Bayern. “If you don’t win, people always look for a scapegoat. If we don’t score, people look at Lewandowski. But he has 28 goals and he is undisputed, a great striker. Ronaldo didn’t score in the first game either,” he said. “I didn’t know I hadn’t scored against Madrid. Maybe that’s extra motivation but personal stats don’t interest me much; if the result is good without me scoring, fine. Although it wouldn’t be bad to score.”
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, vowed that Madrid would attack, not seek to protect the lead, even if Sergio Ramos did claim that the most important factor would be “defensive seriousness” and that the counterattack might be key. Despite the probable absence of Isco and injury to Dani Carvajal, Zidane said: “Bayern are a great team and will go for it. We have to go out there to win, to score as soon as we can, without dropping back at all, without trying to contain the game or doing anything odd.”
Asked which opponent he would prevent from playing if he could, Bayern’s former Madrid midfielder James Rodríguez said: “I’d take all 11 out.”